Ford comes up with a smart jacket for cyclists
21 June 2018 - Autoblog
Prototype jacket features turn indicators and brake lights
Ford's Smart Mobility team has come up with a special prototype jacket to help cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. The jacket, which pairs with the user's smartphone, has different lights sewn in for assistance, and it also vibrates its sleeves to help the cyclist to navigate.
When the user is out and about on their bike, the navigation app finds a less congested route for the rider to take. The jacket's sleeves vibrate to signify the route's turns, and when the rider lifts their arm to notify other road users about making a turn, the lighting is clearly visible to others — as is a brake light in the jacket's back. The jacket can be connected with a bone conductive headset for navigation instructions, leaving the user's ears unblocked for safety's sake. There's no need to take one's eyes off the road when cycling, or to tap a smartphone screen; incoming calls can also be taken hands-free.
"There is an immediate change in mindset once there is no longer any need to stop to consult navigation apps directly on your phone — or worry if you're heading into a particularly busy or dangerous road junction," said Tom Thompson, project lead for the Ford Smart Mobility team. And with cyclists more aware of their surroundings, it's also easier for drivers and pedestrians to share the roads with them — and if cyclists can even be steered away from congested, stressful and dangerous routes, everybody wins.